Deacon David Arias, ordained this August, and his wife Maria, have a passion for the most vulnerable among us, including the unborn and those with disabilities. It is inspired by their personal journey of raising three children with special needs, including their 18-year-old daughter, Evelyn, who has Down Syndrome.

Almost 20 years ago, David and Maria Arias received the joyful news that they were finally expecting a child, after five difficult years of being unable to conceive. A few months into the pregnancy, however, they found out that Evelyn would have developmental problems and they say they were encouraged to abort her.

“But we just said ‘no, ‘because this is our baby. We felt her moving and we just knew that this was our child,” she said.

David and Maria hope that their story of choosing to have Evelyn can be used as an inspiration that all children are valuable, with or without special needs. Their story has special resonance now, when California voters will be seeing pro-abortion Proposition 1 on their ballots this November.

Evelyn recorded a video message which was posted to Facebook, in which she says, “I am pro-life. I ask that you vote ‘No’ on Proposition 1. Please help us protect innocent lives.” (Click here to see the video.)

When Evelyn was born and diagnosed with Down Syndrome, the couple was told that they could give her to a state facility if they didn’t want to keep her. David and Maria chose to keep and raise her, themselves.

“We were just told the easy, quick solution for society: Get rid of this child. Don’t deal with it. And we would have never had the opportunity to learn what it would entail to have a child with disability,” said Maria. “I would never give that up. Because we have cried, we have suffered, we have had tears of frustration, but we have also had tears of joy. It made us who we are now.”

David admitted that it was not an easy time. “It was tough. I’m not going to say I was rejoicing; I was questioning God, asking why,” he said.

“I didn’t understand the purpose then, but now I understand why he gave us a daughter like that: it changed my whole perspective to see society, to see life, even the whole perspective to see Christ in life. You see through another type of eyes, with compassion, with being humble,” said Deacon Arias.

David and Maria had two more children after Evelyn, a 16-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son, who also have special needs. Despite the challenges that raising a special needs child brings, it also comes with unimaginable blessings, said the couple.

“[Special needs children] bring out the best in you. They bring out the strength, the passion, the love, the humility, the compassion … they’re full of gifts, and they make you discover in yourself all these gifts,” said David.

Full story at Inland Catholic Byte.